The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

How We Tested Hiking Pants for Women

Thursday May 16, 2019
Hiking Pant testing in Red Rock Canyon. We wore these pants in a variety of terrains and weather conditions.
Hiking Pant testing in Red Rock Canyon. We wore these pants in a variety of terrains and weather conditions.

To bring you a comprehensive women's hiking pant review, we researched dozens of different models and brands and then tested 12 of the highest rated ones out there for our current review. We wore them for several months while hiking, climbing, and camping in the desert southwest. We also had a bunch of friends try them on to see how they fit a variety of women's shapes and wore them in a range of temperatures and weather conditions. Here's how we specifically tested them for our various metrics.

The Ferrosi's handled the abuse of trad gear and sharp rocks during the testing period.
The Ferrosi's handled the abuse of trad gear and sharp rocks during the testing period.

Comfort and Mobility


We hiked a lot of miles in every pair, with and without a heavy pack, and also scrambled through tight canyons and rock climbed in them. Throughout, we were gauging how comfortable the various pairs felt, and if there were any annoying features or seams. We noted the stretch of the material, whether the fit and the cut of the pants allowed for freedom of movement and if anything impeded us on the trail.

There were no mobility issues to report scrambling over boulders with the Paramount.
There were no mobility issues to report scrambling over boulders with the Paramount.

Versatility


We assessed how versatile each pair is based on their ability to be used for a variety of activities and in a variety of climates.

Too hot for pants? Just take the legs off!
Too hot for pants? Just take the legs off!

Breathability


Wearing these pants out in the hot desert surroundings of Southern Utah, gave us a great idea of how breathable each pair is. We wore these pants out in similar conditions and noted how well the material vented our perspiration. We also assessed the heaviness of the material and the ability to increase airflow.

Hiking in hot weather in Red Rock Canyon  Nevada. We took each pair out on warm days and in full sun to note how cool we stayed and switched to shorts (if possible) when the temps heated up.
Hiking in hot weather in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. We took each pair out on warm days and in full sun to note how cool we stayed and switched to shorts (if possible) when the temps heated up.

Durability


After testing the pants in the field for several months, we examined each pair closely for any obvious signs of wear or weak points. Material thickness and strength was also factored in. We then compared them to well-used pairs in our closets and also read up on other users' reviews to see if there were any trends for durability issues.

We weren't just using these pants on flat trails ... we took them out scrambling  traveled over trail-less terrain with lots of sharp plants in the way  climbed routes in them  and anything else we could think of to get a lot of wear on each pair.
We weren't just using these pants on flat trails ... we took them out scrambling, traveled over trail-less terrain with lots of sharp plants in the way, climbed routes in them, and anything else we could think of to get a lot of wear on each pair.

Weather Resistance


We noted how well the pants blocked the wind while out hiking and made a note of whether they have a UPF rating or not. We also completed some specific water testing to see how well they resisted water. We sprayed each model repeatedly with a water bottle and noted how long it took for the water to soak through the material (or not). Then we dunked each pair, wrung them out, and set them out to dry on a sunny day, timing how long it took each one to dry.

Water testing the different models in this review. We evaluated both their water resistance and full drying time.
Water testing the different models in this review. We evaluated both their water resistance and full drying time.

Features


By using the pants in the field and for a variety of activities, we were able to assess how useful the various features were on each pair, and graded them accordingly.

We tested out all of the various features  including attempting to take a pair of convertible pants off without removing our shoes!
We tested out all of the various features, including attempting to take a pair of convertible pants off without removing our shoes!